5 Workers’ Comp Communication Strategies to Ramp Up Your Program

5 Workers’ Comp Communication Strategies to Ramp Up Your ProgramDo you ever feel like the message just isn’t getting through to employees about your workers’ compensation program? They don’t understand what to do if they are injured, don’t seem to trust you or the company to do right by them, and have unrealistic expectations?

 

You’re not alone. Those are some of the biggest challenges employers cite in implementing their injury management programs. Thankfully, several low-cost, easy-to-implement strategies can ensure your workers understand the system and are on the same page with you.

 

 

Why Communication is Important

 

In addition to the frustrations that you feel when communication with injured workers is not smooth, it also costs you money. Research studies show a direct link between poor communication and workers’ compensation claims outcomes.

 

For example, Liberty Mutual found a decided difference in outcomes when supervisors responded positively rather than negatively to a worker reporting an injury. Positive responses, along with an injury triage system to report injuries were associated with an average of 40 percent lower claim costs and 58 percent shorter disability durations.

 

Supervisors’ responses that were deemed as ‘negative’ and drove poor outcomes included:

 

  • Lack of support
  • Blaming the worker
  • Expressing anger
  • Questioning the validity of the injury
  • Encouraging the worker not to file a claim

 

Positive outcomes were reported when the supervisors were flexible and open to talk with the worker, responded quickly, and expressed genuine interest in the worker’s overall well-being. Setting realistic expectations was cited as one of the most important best practices to communicate well with the injured worker.

 

Return-to-work coordinators said they were most effective in their jobs when they practiced:

 

  • Active listening
  • Communication
  • Ability to relate well to other stakeholders
  • Problem-solving
  • Having confidentiality

 

These so-called soft skills were more strongly associated with positive outcomes than having technical knowledge of the workers’ compensation system. The first step to change supervisors’ negative responses to positive ones is to show them the financial impact each has. Beyond that, there are several ways organizations can demonstrate genuine caring for their injured workers.

 

 

Effective Communication Strategies

 

Injured workers need to have at least a general understanding of how the workers’ compensation process works. This can be accomplished through

 

  1. Employee brochure. This proactively sets employees’ expectations in the event they are injured. It should communicate briefly how the program works, including the transitional duty program and RTW. It should clearly state that the company will take care of them and help them return to work. It should be written in a positive tone.

 

  1. Wallet card. Once an employee does become injured, he most likely will have forgotten the details in the employee brochure. A simple wallet card or posted notice should be readily available and should explain the post-injury steps:

 

  • How to report the claim
  • How and where medical care will be provided
  • The RTW process
  • Expectations for weekly meetings with you and/or others

 

Injured workers are often frightened and confused. The actions undertaken immediately following the injury set the tone for the entire process. Several tactics put the claim on the path for a positive outcome.

 

  1. First-day phone call. If a friend has been in an accident or is suddenly injured, you would probably contact him to let him know you are thinking about him, find out how he is doing and see if there is anything you can do to help. Injured workers are no different. A supervisor, or manager who has a positive relationship with the worker should call the worker as soon as possible, preferably the first day. The conversation does not need to be more than a few minutes, but it should include messages such as

 

  • We are sorry this happened
  • We want you back at work as soon as you are able
  • How are you doing?
  • Do you need me to contact your family, bring you anything you may have left at work?
  • Are there any questions about the workers’ compensation process I can answer for you?

 

The person making the call should make sure the worker knows what to expect — whether a claims adjuster and/or case manager will be in contact, how medical care will be provided for him, and that his job will be waiting for him when he returns.

 

  1. Get-well card. In addition to the initial contact from the supervisor or manager, coworkers should also convey their well wishes to the injured worker. The easiest way to do this is by sending a simple get well card, signed by the worker’s colleagues. Their messages can be simple expressions of support.

 

  1. Weekly Meetings. Communication with the injured worker should not stop after the initial contact. There should be ongoing, regular meetings via phone or in person if possible. these conversations serve two purposes:

 

  1. They let the injured worker know you are there to help.
  2. They help you gauge how well the worker is recovering.

 

These conversations should continue to express well wishes and focus on the worker’s progress. The supervisor or manager can ask:

 

  • How the worker is doing
  • How his medical care is going — whether he likes his providers and if they are responsive to his needs
  • What activities he is or is not able to do
  • What questions or frustrations he may have

 

 

Conclusion

 

The workers’ compensation system has many moving parts and complications. By communicating well with injured workers, you can eliminate many of the frustrations and realize better outcomes and lower costs.

 

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2018 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Pick Up The Phone To Dramatically Reduce Your Workers’ Compensation Costs

Pick Up The Phone To Dramatically Reduce Your Workers’ Compensation CostsOne of the biggest reasons injured workers hire attorneys is because no one has contacted them since the injury. They are in pain, not sure what to do or expect, and no one from the company has bothered to see how they are doing or even say ‘hello.’ They feel ignored and alone.

 

Attorney involvement is a huge cost driver, often more than doubling the cost of a claim. It makes sense to do everything possible to eliminate this reason a worker would contact an attorney — especially when it is as simple as making a phone call.

 

 

Why It’s Important

 

A worker who has been injured is suddenly thrust completely outside his comfort zone. His employer can easily allay his fears and concerns by contacting him. Calling the injured worker as soon as possible after the injury sets the tone for the claim.

 

 

Who Should Call

 

The most effective way to set a positive tone for the claim is by having a trusted colleague connect with the injured worker. In most cases, it is the supervisor. That person typically knows the injured worker well and is also in the best position to provide information about the company’s disability management process.

 

In some cases the supervisor may not be the best person to contact the injured worker; he may be unavailable or may have a frictional relationship with the employee. In those cases, someone else should be designated to communicate with the worker. It could be another manager who has a positive relationship with the employee or even a coworker who clearly understands the workers’ compensation process.

 

 

What to Say

 

A big reason some supervisors don’t contact injured workers is because they are not sure what to say. The conversation can be simple and friendly. With some basic, short training, the first-day phone call can be the most important aspect of handling the claim.

 

It’s important to understand the most immediate concerns of an injured worker are:

 

  • How and when he will get paid
  • How he will receive medical treatment
  • Whether and how he will be able to work

 

The conversation should address those issues, and answer any additional questions the worker has. The tone of the discussion should be friendly and easy, expressing concern and understanding. It is also imperative that the caller convey the message that the company wants the employee back at work.

 

Here are examples of things to say to the injured worker:

 

 

Show caring and concern:

 

  1. How are you? How is it going?
  2. How are you feeling?
  3. How was your first medical appointment?
  4. Did you like the doctor?
  5. Are/were you able to get the prescriptions you need?

 

 

Express support and understanding:

 

  1. We are really sorry you got injured.
  2. Is there anything we can do to help?
  3. Would you like me to contact your family?
  4. Do you need me to pick up any of your clothes, your materials, anything from the office?
  5. We want you back at work.

 

In addition to asking questions, the caller should actively listen to what the injured worker is saying. That means letting him speak without interrupting him, even if he is angry and upset. What is important is that he is heard and that the caller expresses his understanding of the situation — even if the caller does not agree with what the worker is saying.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Workers’ compensation claims close quicker when the injured worker heals faster and gets back to work sooner. Engaging the worker in his recovery will expedite the process. Injured workers who feel their employer cares about their well-being and maintains a connection are more engaged than those who feel alienated.

 

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers’ compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their workers’ comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is a co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2018 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

The Simple Activity in Workers’ Comp that Produces Complex Results

 

Register: Power of One – How Your Impact on Workers’ Compensation Will Change Your Career

 

One of the things I find most interesting about workers’ compensation is that at its core, it’s incredibly simple. But as you go further beyond that, it becomes more and more and more complex to the point that it becomes overwhelming.

 

Hello. My name is Michael Stack. I’m the CEO of AMAXX, and today I want to outline for you the four pillars of our best in class injury management system. But I don’t want to get into any of the complexity that may come long with return to work and injury response, procedure and system as well as working with your claims handler and your carrier or your TPA, your vendors or your medical providers.

 

I want to talk about one element, which is communication, which at its core is the simplest aspect of workers’ compensation management. If you do this piece well, it’s the blanket that’s going to lay over the entire system, and you’re at last 50% if not 75% of the way there towards producing those better outcomes for your injured workers and dramatically reducing your work comp costs. Let’s talk about these most simple elements of communication that can have the most dramatic results.

 

 

Proactive & Reactive Communication

 

There’s two aspects of communication. There’s proactive communication, and there’s reactive. Proactive, of course, the elements that occur before an injury happens. Reactive is those elements that occur after an injury happens. There’s a few different things that go into proactive communication including setting your policies, setting up elements with your medical providers, but the one that has the most dramatic impact on your employees is extremely simple to set up and will deliver those dramatic results is a simple employee brochure.

 

If you think about majority of your employees, they’ve never been injured before. They’ve never had an experience of workers’ compensation, and it can seem overwhelming to them. Put in your employee brochure these couple of different elements. What is work comp? Why does it exist, and what are the basics of what happens? We deal with this stuff every day, and most employees have never been inured before, so what is it.

 

 

Set Expectations with Employee Brochure

 

Set their expectations as far as what’s gonna happen. Let them know that you’re expected to return to work. Our policy is that we’re gonna accommodate the vast majority of injuries, so you’re expected to return to work. And we expect your cooperation in that as part of our team. We care about you, and we want you back to work. We want you to continue to be productive for yourself and for our organization.

 

Lastly, let them know how they’re gonna get their medical treatment. Are they able to choose their own doctor? Let them know that they don’t have to pay for a deductible. Do you choose the doctor for them? What is some basic information that you can provide to your employees prior to being injured? One of the elements that WCRI noted in this study was that the number one reason why employees hired attorneys is a fear of getting fired. If you let them know that you care about your employees, you want them back to work, this is how you get your treatment, we’re gonna take care of you, that odds of them hiring an attorney and that claim going off the track become significantly lower. Very simple element. Create employee brochure, disseminate it to your employees prior to injury.

 

Let’s talk about after an injury occurs. You set this expectation now with your employee brochure, now all you have to do is meet that expectation. You have to demonstrate that care to your employees. Get them to that medical treatment as soon as possible. If you let them know you care about them, they’re more likely to report the claim right away, more likely to get to that medical provider right away, more likely to get those medical restrictions right away to put them right into your return to work program.

 

 

Make Communication Simple & Effective

 

This care is demonstrated through a few different elements. One is letting them know and reminding them what to do at time of injury. You have a wallet card. You have posters. You have some different communication pieces around the organization, around your office that says what to do. Here’s steps one, two, three, four, five, six, and seven. Maybe it’s also hanging on their lanyard. Something that demonstrates what to do at time of injury.

 

The next piece here is a get well card/a call/a visit. There’s a lot of advancements in our world today, a lot of automation, a lot of predictive analytics, a lot of information that comes from big data. Taking three minutes to have the supervisor write and sign a get well card–hey Tom, we care about you, we’re sorry you got injured, we can’t wait to have you back–will have more impact than all of the big data in the world on John’s emotions, on John’s motivation to return back to your company in a return to work program. You give that person a call. You let them now, hey, how are you doing, how’s everything going. You can assess that person’s attitude, you can demonstrate care, and you can get incredible claims management information, if they’re attitude is poor, if they’re very frustrated, if they’re having a lot of challenges with their medical providers. You can get on top of that right away by giving that person a call or going to visit them at the hospital.

 

Workers’ compensation is an incredibly complex system, but at its core, it’s incredibly simple. Follow these best practices of communication in order to start you on the path of realizing those dramatic results.

 

 

Power of One Series

 

For more information, for more details on the entire system of injury management, I encourage you to register for my upcoming training series entitled “The Power of One: How Your Impact on Workers’ Compensation Will Change Your Career”. Again, I’m Michael Stacks, CEO of AMAXX, and remember your work today in workers’ compensation can have a dramatic impact on your company’s bottom line, but it will have a dramatic impact on someone’s life. So, be great.

 

 

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Five Things to Include in Your Workers’ Comp Communication Policy

workers' comp communicationPart of managing your workers’ comp budget is reducing indemnity payments to your injured workers. There are a variety of reasons why some workers may not return to work as soon as they can, such as disagreements with the doctor’s recommendation, complications with treatment, and in some rare cases, employees simply trying to stay out of work.

 

 

Proactive Communication Improves Outcome & Limits Costs

 

Whatever the case, company administration must use proactive communication and monitoring of injured employees to ensure treatment is progressing well and the treating doctor has projected a return-to-work date. In cases of disagreements with either State workers’ comp claims or the doctor’s prognosis, help your employees to resolve these issues as quickly as possible. A quick resolution equals a quick return to work and limits your costs. Think: modified duty.

 

Some people may think — Why do I need to bother with such a plan, when the insurance company is paying off the claim?

 

The insurance company is paying the claim, but you still cover your deductible (or premium in guarantee cost). And, depending upon per incident costs, an employee suffering a moderate injury could cost as much as $35,000.00.

 

Take the approach of a well-informed and concerned employer concerned with both safety in the workplace, but also with the injured worker’s recovery and return to work after an injury. Weekly or monthly safety and work practices meetings help reinforce company policy and procedure for safe work related conduct and maintaining a safe work environment.

 

 

Five Things to Include in Your Workers’ Comp Communication Policy

 

Your communication policy as a part of your injury reporting and claims process must include:

 

  1. A first day phone call or visit to the injured employee.
  2. Communication with the doctor on prognosis, a reasonable treatment plan, and estimated date for a return to work.
  3. Documentation of every accident/injury.
  4. Investigate any claims raising “red flags” for potential fraud.
  5. Close communication with your insurance claims adjuster to make sure all claims are reviewed before processing.

 

By getting your employees back to work before the mandatory waiting period for indemnity payments, you reduce your claims costs and protect your profit margin. Suspicious claims should be thoroughly investigated and brought to the attention of your claims adjuster.

 

Injuries occurring without witnesses or off company property while the employee was on duty may be hard to investigate. However, failure to do so could easily cost the company a substantial amount of money. That is not to say all accident claims falling into these categories are false or attempts at fraud, but in the event they are, investigating helps you to protect the company by detecting them before they affect your bottom line.

 

 

Michael Stack - AmaxxAuthor Michael Stack, CEO Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

10 Requirements For Employees Injured At Work

We tend to think of workers’ compensation cost containment programs as an endeavor best left to the employer, and while the employer must design the program, the employee has a role also.

 

 

10 Requirements For Employees Injured At Work

 

  1. Know what to do if they are injured on the job
  2. Sign an acknowledgement of these responsibilities
  3. Seek medical care from the employers medical provider (or their own primary treating physician if allowed by law)
  4. Keep the employer informed and updated of their condition/status
  5. Complete forms required by the employer truthfully.
  6. Attend weekly meetings to keep the employer informed of their condition and any obstacles to return to work full duty
  7. Participate in transitional duty (this must be a condition of employment).
  8. Attend all medical and rehabilitation appointments.
  9. Return to work in either transitional duty or full duty as soon as medically able.
  10. Other tasks as required by the employer and allowable by law such. Each state is different.

 

Remember, communication is the most powerful to gain buy-in and bring employees on board with participation in your workers’ comp management program.

 

 

Main Communication Message

 

“Our employees are our greatest asset, we are sorry one of our employees was injured, and we need your help getting them back to work.”

 

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

4 Communication Strategies to Lower Workers Comp Costs

Here’s a sobering reality: most of the world does not understand the workers’ compensation system. Unless they themselves or a family member has sustained an occupational injury, most people haven’t the foggiest idea how the whole process is supposed to work.

 

That means it’s up to us to make sure an injured worker gets a clear understanding. Why? Because confusion and misunderstandings about the system drive up claims costs. People are afraid and don’t know how or when they will receive medical care or another paycheck. The way the system has historically worked clearly does not help the situation.

 

Think about it. There may be notifications from the claims adjuster, claims administrator, third-party administrator, insurer, pharmacy benefit manager, employer, medical provider or the case manager; with questions or information about the DOI, future medicals, impairment ratings, TTD/TPD/PPD, MMI, or FCE. Add to that a few comorbidities and biopsychosocial risk factors and it’s no wonder some cases go south.

 

 

Effective Communication

 

Ideally, you want the injured worker engaged in the recovery process so he’s motivated to get back to function and work as quickly as possible. Building trust is key. Training supervisors and managers on communication skills can go a long way to preventing animosity; i.e., delayed recoveries, litigation, etc.

 

 

Words

 

What you say has a big impact on how an injured worker responds to the workers’ comp process. You want to avoid creating animosity. Some tips on what to say (or not) include:

 

  • Don’t start sentences with ‘you.’ You don’t want to make accusations against the injured worker. Even if that is not the intention, sentences that start with ‘you’ may be perceived that way.
  • Avoid ‘never’ and ‘always.’ You want to be honest with the injured worker and show you are willing to work with him. Such definitive words may prematurely end a discussion, or provide false hope — neither of which will help.
  • Be positive. Use words that exude optimism. Let the worker know her job is not in danger and you are expecting and looking forward to her returning to work as soon as possible.
  • Use clear and concise language. The person speaking with the injured worker should have his message set and know what and how he plans to say before the conversation starts.

 

 

Tone/Attitude

 

It’s not only important what you say, but how you say it that matters. As the old adage goes, you catch more flies with honey than vinegar.

 

  • Be supportive. Ask the injured worker how he is doing, not only with his injury but overall. Find out if he’s experiencing any particular hardships with which you might be able to help, such as speaking with family members about the workers’ compensation process. Indicate you are interested in him as a person. Also, talk about what the person can do, rather than what he can’t due because of the injury.

 

  • Be friendly. Be polite and nice. Smiling when you speak is a trick used by radio announcers, as it affects how you come across to others.

 

 

Listen

 

Injured workers are often confused about their injuries and how the workers’ compensation process works. Give them a chance to say and ask what they want. Be open to hearing the injured worker’s point of view. Be an active listener by asking clarifying questions and paraphrasing what the person has said to make sure you understand.

 

 

Frequency

 

It’s imperative to keep the injured worker engaged throughout the claims process. That means maintaining regular communication in whatever forms best meet the injured worker’s needs, whether it be via phone, text, email, letter, etc.

 

The first contact should be made immediately following an injury, to show the person you care and are there for them. A phone call is typically best at this stage, as it provides for interpersonal communication. It’s also important to let the injured worker know what to expect throughout the claims process. Some organizations have developed brochures that clearly and concisely explain the workers’ compensation process. At the least, you can verbally tell the worker what he can expect.

 

Ongoing communications should focus on informing the injured worker about the status of his claim, in addition to continuing to show your support and concern. Also, convey the message that the person is still a valued employee. Update him on work-related goings on and send him any newsletters or other communications so he feels he is still part of the workplace. A get-well card signed by coworkers also helps them feel a part of the company.

 

It’s important that all communication with the injured worker is consistent. You should work with the claims handling team, providers, and others to ensure you are all on the same page.

 

 

Summary

 

Fear, misunderstandings and hurt feelings are prime drivers of adversarial relations between injured workers and employers. By working on communication skills and training all who play a part in the claims process, organizations can ensure their injured workers are on board with their recoveries and return-to-work processes.

 

 

For additional information on workers’ compensation cost containment best practices, register as a guest for our next live stream training.

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder & lead trainer of Amaxx Workers’ Comp Training Center. .

 

Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

Workers’ Comp Roundup Blog: http://blog.reduceyourworkerscomp.com/

Live Stream WC Training: http://workerscompclub.com/livestreamtraining

 

©2017 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

Paul Revere, Workers Compensation, and The Tipping Point

This Is Part 1 in a 3 Part Mini Series.

The Tipping Point in Workers Compensation

  1. Paul Revere, Workers Compensation, and the Tipping Point
  2. Make Your Work Comp Message Stick Like Gorilla Glue
  3. How Work Comp Can Be Just Like Prison

 

“One if by land and two if by sea,” April 18th 1775, Paul Revere was sent on a midnight ride to notify John Hancock and Samuel Adams that the British were coming. He was also tasked with notifying the countryside to be prepared for battle in one of the first stages of the revolutionary war. We all know that story, we all know the name Paul Revere, but there was a lesser known name, William Dawes. He was sent with that same task but why is Paul Revere famous in American history and William Dodd is a relative unknown?

 

I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx and I just finished reading for the second time The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. I read it a number of years ago but I just read it again. I really thought it would be fun to do a little mini series about some of the lessons and the stories that Mr. Gladwell teaches in there about starting change, about starting an epidemic, which is what you’re often trying to do in a work comp management program and in implementation particularly in organization that has a significant difference in how things maybe have been done.

 

 

Law of the Few, Stickiness, and Power of Context

 

There’s 3 three elements that he talks about in there and I did a short mini-series, one on each. The first one is the law of the few. The second one is the stickiness factor, and finally the power of context. The law of the few comes into play when you’re trying to get buy-in. You’re trying to get buy-in from your organization that this is how we’re going to do things moving forward. How do you get that message across? How do you get people to buy into your program?

 

 

 

Certain Individuals Are Exceptional People

 

Three different types of people that he talks about in the book. The first is the connectors, second is the mavens and finally the sales people.  It’s a very popular book and many people have probably read it, but I want to have you not forget about these people, these innate skills. I’ll run through them quickly. The connectors are the people that know everybody, that have a lot of friends, have a lot of acquaintances, know everyone at the organization. The mavens are the researchers. These are the educators; these are the people that really read the policy in detail. When you’re looking to buy a new equipment you know you’ve got to to talk to Sue because you know she’s the only one that has really read everything in detail, researched it, looked it up. You have that level of trust in her because you know that’s an innate skill in her. The sales people are those people that are super smooth. You know that they have the charisma, they have that personality that people follow what they do, because that’s built into their personality.

 

 

 

Leverage The Exceptional People To Obtain Buy-In

 

When you’re trying to get buy-in the first step is to get your CEO involved as well as these people that have these innate skills. It’s critical to have people buy into your organization. Do not forget about the connectors. Do not forget about the mavens, the people that maybe will have researched all the doctors in your program, have researched all the vendors, have read through your entire policy, something that no one else probably did. Make sure you bring Sue on board. Make you bring your sales people on board. Make sure you bring your connectors on board. When you’re working with senior management, rolling out this program, do not forget about the law of the few and it can make a difference at your organization.

 

I’m Michael Stack with Amaxx. This is The Tipping Point mini series. Remember your success in workers compensation is defined by your integrity, so be great.

 

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices. Through these platforms he is in the trenches on a working together with clients to implement and define best practices, which allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

 

©2016 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

What Your Employees Fear Most After A Work Comp Injury

Fear, silence, and uncertainty do more to drive workers’ compensation costs than is generally appreciated – and these factors are fairly simple to control through employer involvement. Attorneys in the field quickly learn that an unpaid medical bill is certain to drive a worker to a lawyer, but there are many other fears which will also do the same thing. Job security is perhaps the second greatest fear, but much else can cause dangerous anxiety. Your workers will quickly find themselves worrying about problems which don’t exist and can’t exist, but these problems will be very real unless someone communicates with them.

 

 

Employer Needs to Maintain Communication

 

The employer does not have to be a counselor or advocate to control such stress, it just needs a credible reason to maintain direct communication. Other laws, OSHA, DOT, FMLA, contain provisions for employer directed medical examinations which are separate from workers’ compensation. These demonstrate the employer’s concern and can be performed days after an injury is reported.

 

If an employee’s disability extends for more than a few days, a phone call at reasonable intervals to inquire about any difficulties in obtaining proper medical care or simply in purchasing food service as an excellent way to maintain contact.

 

The employer should be aware that many workers live alone and even one week at home can be a difficult experience. Also, the employee will be communicating with a new and often mysterious group of individuals that are inevitably part of the claim process – claims examiners, medical office personnel, state boards, and lawyers. Each of these will be speaking to them in unfamiliar technical terms.

 

The employer, who has been through previous workers’ compensation claims, can serve as an interpreter. The employer can also answer many related questions, especially with regard to short-term disability if the claim should be contested.

 

 

Employee’s Spouse Is Your Greatest Ally

 

The employer will also be able to answer most of the concerns of the spouse. Disability is a family problem and the spouse is your best ally. Spouses do NOT generally favor extended disability and will do more to make a return to work effort succeed than an entire team of vocational rehab experts. Never cut off communication with such a valuable friend.

 

In short, silence is the worst enemy of an effective disability management program.

 

Author: Attorney Theodore Ronca is a practicing lawyer from Aquebogue, NY. He is a frequent writer and speaker, and has represented employers in the areas of workers’ compensation, Social Security disability, employee disability plans and subrogation for over 30 years. Attorney Ronca can be reached at 631-722-2100. medsearch7@optonline.net

 

©2016 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

 

An Agreement For Responsible Communication At Work

THE SPIRIT OF RELATIONSHIPS

AN AGREEMENT FOR RESPONSIBLE COMMUNICATION  AT WORK

 

These guidelines are designed to help us maintain our courage and to remain open and vulnerable to those to whom we are listening. By providing a forum of trust based in support and sincere respect with co-workers, we will feel free and more comfortable to express and explore our feelings, insecurities, desires, hopes, and dreams.

 

 

  1. I promise I will not only hear you, but will listen. I will try to let you finish your whole thought and not interrupt. The sharing of our thoughts is what respectfully engages us.

 

  1. I understand you may say things, which are upsetting to me; however, I will accept what you say as your truth. I will not emotionally or physically withdraw as a sign of rejection.

 

  1. Although being open and vulnerable to you may be difficult and possibly threatening to me; I will try to make it safe for you to express your most intimate feelings regarding your positions during our dialogue.

 

  1. I know l am responsible for how I feel and which actions I choose. If you feel I am blaming you for my current feelings and actions during this forum, please tell me. I will listen to you, and stop!

 

  1. Because there is complete understanding when the truth is shared, I will always tell you the (my) truth as honestly, compassionately, and respectfully as l can. I concede that my truth is based upon my knowledge and experiential loci.

 

  1. Because I want us to convey meaning and commitment, I will not use my mind or body to manipulate, control, or defend what you communicate. I will strive to remain free to observe you, your presentation and behavior without projecting guilt, judgment or physical harm. In this way, we both open our intellectual discourse to explore the other’s values and conclusions thus broadening mutual understanding.

 

  1. Because our minds are unique, we will interpret work values and beliefs somewhat differently. Therefore, I agree that we can disagree. My relationship with you is not based upon seeing eye-to-eye on all issues, rather upon mutual respect and honor of the other’s point of view. Between our truths lies compromise we can initiate action upon that and can create a path thru revisions to affect the best strengths of the plan. This concept fundamentally implies that the evolution of ideas and solutions is fluid and non-static.

 

  1. If a barrier arises between us, l want you to know I will deal with working through it, until we have a resolution we can both accept and carry forth. We are committed to equality of governess, and I want to remain open to all perspectives, exposed to new ideas, and ideologically available to take positive action for the benefit of all.

 

  1. Because I want you to trust me, and I want to feel equal with you, nothing you share with me will be intentionally distorted or used to provoke or diminish you, your ideas or actions later. I acknowledge, trust and respect our philosophical boundaries. I will refrain from using the spoken word and media to, as is commonly used, bear less than truthful witness and manipulate your position in order to gain strategic advantage.

 

  1. I offer you my personage and help unconditionally for the philosophical purposes to advance and heal this organization. By this I mean I will support and be here for the intrinsic value of this wide reaching process and will work with you to achieve prosperity, community action and respect as well equal opportunity for all citizens.

 

We commit to these ideals.

 

Signatures of participants in this agreement:

 

 

Author: Christopher Maywald, D.C., Maywald Chiropractic & Sports Therapy, specializes in comprehensive chiropractic sports medicine care helping patients quickly reach their health objectives and enhance their overall quality of life. Dr. Maywald has a B.S. in Human Biology and a Doctorate of Chiropractic from Logan College of Chiropractic. He is a frequent author and speaker and has been featured in Time Magazine, on ABC TV’s Chronicle and in Patriot Ledger Sports. Contact: christoph.maywald@comcast.net, Website: http://www.maywaldchiropractic.com/

 

 

Big Employer Mistake In Work Comp is No Employee Rapport

The dictionary defines rapport as:  a friendly relationship based on mutual liking, trust and a sense that they understand and share each other’s concerns.  One of the biggest mistakes employers make in handling their workers’ compensation claims is the failure to have rapport with the injured employee.

 

When an injury occurs to an employee, once the immediate medical treatment is obtained, the primary concern of the employee is how the injury will impact his/her job, his/her future income and his/her ability to take care of their family obligations.  The wise employer will have the workers’ compensation coordinator or employee’s direct supervisor in touch with the employee the same day as the accident to address the employee’s concerns about the future.

 

 

Employee Needs Feedback and Positive Reinforcement

 

Following an accident, the employee needs both feedback from the employer and positive reinforcement that he/she will be taken care of by the employer. The work comp coordinator or supervisor should contact the employee to:

 

  • inquiry with the employee about what the medical provider had to say,
  • offer to arrange future medical care or diagnostic testing, if needed
  • advise the claim has been reported to the insurer and the adjuster will be in touch within the next 24 hours
  • reassure the employee that their job will be waiting for them when they are able to return to work
  • advise the employee that the employer will do what is necessary to provide the employee with modified duty/light duty work when the medical provider states it is okay to do so
  • determine when the employee’s next medical appointment is
  • ask the employee to call in following the next medical appointment to update his/her status
  • ask the employee what the employer could do to prevent future accidents like the one the employee just had
  • ask the employee if they have any questions or concerns about what will occur with their workers’ compensation claim
  • by contacting the employee, preferably the same day, following an accident, and answering all of the employee’s questions, the employer shows the employee the employer is concerned about the employee’s wellbeing.  When the employee is not contacted following the accident, the employee will feel ignored by the employer.

 

 

No Contact Leads to Worry and Often Legal Involvement

 

This will often lead to the employee hiring an attorney to answer the questions about the work comp claim the employer could have easily answered.  The attorney will quickly express how the insurance company and the employer are out to take advantage of the employee, and, of course the attorney can protect the employee from all of his/her concerns for a percentage of the claim.  Often the attorney will even tell the employee that they will net more money after the attorney’s fee, than they would without the attorney’s assistance.  The worried employee will often be quick to latch on to these promises, if they have do not have rapport with the employer and the employer’s reassurance that the employee will be taken care of.

 

The best way an employer can prevent an injured employee from obtaining an attorney and the unnecessary additional claim cost that drives the employer’s premiums higher, is to maintain contact with the employee after the accident. Not only is contact immediately after the accident needed, contact with the employee following each medical visit will work wonders in maintaining rapport and trust with the employee.  By maintaining an active interest in the claim and the employee’s wellbeing, the claim will move forward in a positive manner.

 

 

Build Positive Momentum Through Return to Work Program

 

The return to work program, even if well established at your company, needs to be discussed and explained to the injured employee in terms of keeping his/her job available.  The return to work program should be explained to the employee in terms of minimizing the income lost the employee will have due to receiving the lower disability benefit rather than the regular paycheck.

 

By maintaining contact with the injured employee, the employer will maintain rapport throughout the claim process.  The positive atmosphere created by the rapport between the employee and the employer will lead to a more satisfying outcome of the claim for both the employee and the employer.

 

 

Author Michael Stack, Principal, COMPClub, Amaxx LLC. He is an expert in workers compensation cost containment systems and helps employers reduce their work comp costs by 20% to 50%.  He works as a consultant to large and mid-market clients, is co-author of Your Ultimate Guide To Mastering Workers Comp Costs, a comprehensive step-by-step manual of cost containment strategies based on hands-on field experience, and is founder of COMPClub, an exclusive member training program on workers compensation cost containment best practices. Through these platforms he is in the trenches on a working together with clients to implement and define best practices, which allows him to continuously be at the forefront of innovation and thought leadership in workers’ compensation cost containment. Contact: mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com.

 

 

©2016 Amaxx LLC. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law.

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker, attorney, or qualified professional.

 

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